April 09, 2024

Journal of IOA Article Examines Circle Processes in Ombuds Work

Natalie C. Fleury
is the author of the latest article in the Journal of the International Ombuds Association: "The Center Will Hold: An Overview of Circle Processes and Their Potential Use in Academic Medicine and Other Organizations." Fleury's article draws on her decade of experience as an Ombuds at the Medical College of Wisconsin to offer guidance to other practitioners.

Here is the abstract of the article:
The use of circles to nurture trust relationships is a practice seen in many Indigenous cultures (Kaminski, 2011). Recently, circle processes have been used in neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, justice systems, and other settings to address a variety of issues.
Effective circle processes create a safe space where everyone is respected and each participant has the opportunity to speak. A well-executed circle creates a receptacle that can hold strong emotions, encourages vulnerability and sharing, and creates a sense of connection and shared purpose.
This article focuses on adapting circles to address workplace issues in academic medical institutions. The article introduces the stages of a circle process, the general structure of circle processes, and important circle guidelines followed by an overview of five different models for circle processes. Application of these processes are illustrated using a scenario and exploring how each process might be used to address issues arising from the scenario.
(JIOA 2024.)

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